Cookie Consent by
a close up of credit cards


How to set up a UK bank account

By CGordon 01 Aug 2023

Now that you're settled in Glasgow, one of the first things you need to do is set up a bank account.

We don't recommend carrying large amounts of cash amounts of cash around. The safest option is to put your money in a bank account, then use a debit card or your smartphone to pay for anything you need whilst you're out and about instead.

It is a good idea to carry a small amount of £GBP though, as it could take you a week or two to open an account. You have lots of different options to choose from, so we recommend using the internet or going into the bank to talk to them. There are different kinds of bank accounts to choose from, with different services and transfer times. Opening a basic account does not cost any money, although there are premium accounts that charge fees.

While we cannot recommend any one bank, there are a number of branches close to campus including The Bank of Scotland, TSB Bank, Virgin Money, Santander, and the Royal Bank of Scotland all on Byres Road. 

Once you know which bank account you want to use, you will need a few documents to open it and get started. You should have all of these but if you need support, contact your accommodation provider or university for confirmation. This includes:

  • Passport
  • Visa (if applicable)
  • Bank letter, which is addressed to the bank and confirms your student status and UK address. To find out how to create or request a bank letter, head to the Student Services Enquiry Team's useful website.
a person holding a box

Having a UK bank account makes life easier to buy everyday items, go shopping, transfer money to friends and is safer than carrying large amounts of cash. Most cash machines are free to use but keep an eye out for ones that charge a fee - it will be clearly marked on the machine or screen. 

With payment methods like ApplePay and contactless card payments, having a British bank account will make life in the UK that little bit easier! 

CGordon profile picture

CGordon UofG Residence Life
View All Posts